A Selection of Mayan Vocabulary

by Linda McManus on February 17, 2014, no comments

Akuml means “place of the turtle”

Alux, h’lox, or more fully h’loxkatob. The meaning is “the strong clay images.”

Atole. Nahuan atolli, or atlaolli. Corn-meal gruel.

Balám. Tiger or mountain-lion. The word was applied also to a class of priests and to kings as a title of distinction.

Balché. A fermented liquor made from wild honey and the bark of a tree.

Buhul, buuhul. A section of a stick of wood split lengthwise in the middle.

Bulihuah. Tortillas made of corn-meal and beans. From bul or buul, beans; uah, tortilla.

Caçique. Antillean word meaning a lord or chief.

Camote. Nahuan camotl, a kind of sweet-potato.

Canlahuntaz. Large loaves of native bread. From canlahun, fourteen; taz, tiers, or layers.

Comal. Nahuan comalli, clay griddle.

Hipil. Nahuan huipilli, a woman’s chemise.

Huahuapach, ua ua pach. Means giant crab.

Huit, uith. Loin-cloth.

Jicara. Nahuan xicalli, corrupted into jicara, a calabash.

Kex. To barter or change; also used as a name for ex votos placed on altars.

Kipxosi, kipchoh, cipchoh. “A diviner bird among the Indians.”

Kool. A dish prepared by cooking corn with chicken.

Mecapal. Nahuan mecapalli, leathern band used over the forehead for carrying burdens.

Mecate. Nahuan mecatl, rope or cord made of maguey fiber.

Metate. Nahuan metatl, a stone on which corn is ground.

Milpa. Nahuan milli, cultivated land; pan, a postposition.

Mitote. Nahuan mitotli, a dance.

Moloch. Brush-wood or kindling.

Pahatun, pah ah tun. The four pa ah tunes, the lords of rains, are, identical with the winds, and the four cardinal points from which they blow…. The name pahatun is of difficult derivation, but it probably means ‘stone, or pillar, set up or erected.'”

Pib. An underground oven.

Pochat tancab. According to the author of this report the phrase has the same signification as buhul: the offering made to a girl by a prospective bridegroom. The words seem to be: poc, to wash or rub; hat, numerical termination serving to count split-wood; tancab, outside the house, or in the patio.

Pozole. Nahuan pozolatl, or poçol atl, a drink of cooked corn.

Sacá, zacá. Orgeat of corn; from za, corn gruel; , or caa, duplicative particle.

Sintun, zintun. A heated stone for heating water for bathing purposes. From zin, to haul, girdle or encircle; tun, stone.

Taukul, tunkul. A wooden drum.

Tich. A mass celebrated in planted fields.

Xaché xtabay. The name of a plant. The first word, xaché, is evidently xach or xachah, to comb. Xtabay may be x-, a prefix, indicating feminine gender; tabal, to deceive.

Xanleox, x’kanleox. From x-, prefix denoting feminine gender; kan, yellow; lox, to strike with the closed fist.

Xbolonthahroch bokolhahoch, X bolon thoroch bokol (or bookol) h’otoch. From x-, prefix denoting feminine gender; bolon, nine; thoroch, sound of a spindle revolving in its shaft. The name therefore signifies ‘the female imp who magnifies the sound of the spindle.  Bokol or bookol, to stir; h or ah, to indicate the rough breathing which in Maya denotes the masculine gender.

Xhantumbú, xkantumbub, or xkantun bub. A small plant used for medicinal purposes.

Xtabay. See etymology under xaché xtabay.

Xulab. An ant which attacks beehives.

Yuncimil, Yumcimil. The God of Death; from yum, universal father or lord; cimil, death.

Zaztun. A quartz crystal; from zaz, clear; tun, stone.

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